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Voting in the runoffs

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By Optic Editorial Board

We anticipate, on the eve of Las Vegas’ first runoff election, that the turnout will be low. Most runoffs in other locales turn out fewer voters than the election that preceded them, and that’s likely to be the case here in Las Vegas.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for those who do get out and vote. A low turnout means your vote is all the more important. It also means that the candidates could win or lose according to the commitment of their supporters — fair-weather friends are less likely to get out, while passionate supporters are far more likely to vote, and might even bring a friend or neighbor along with them.

On March 6, in Ward 2, where only two candidates filed, Vince Howell won handily, so residents there will only have the mayor’s race on their ballots. Same for Ward 1 and Ward 4 — only the mayoral contest looms in those areas of town. But in Ward 3, there’s a second big decision to be made. There, where six candidates competed for a single council position, no one even came close to winning a majority. Joseph “Joey” Herrera got 24 percent and Joseph McCaffery got 21.5 percent — which sent these top two vote-getters into Tuesday runoff election. Our prediction: less than 500 votes will decide that election.

Meanwhile, for mayor, incumbent Alfonso E. Ortiz Jr. garnered 40.9 percent of the citywide vote, while councilor Tonita Gurule-Giron got 32.8 percent, thrusting the two of them into a runoff as well. The outcome of the ensuing runoff will determine who will lead the city into the future. It’s a shame that it may be decided by fewer than 2,000 votes — only 2,537 ballots were cast on March 6 — but that’s the reality of the situation.

The bottom line for Tuesday’s winners and losers is this: It’s all about who can turn the most people out to vote.

If you don’t care enough to vote, we suggest you keep to yourself your next complaint about how the city serves, or doesn’t serve, the people.

After all, if you don’t vote you must not care about having a real say in the affairs of city government, so why should anyone listen to you anyway?

However, if you want to be part of the few who make a difference, we urge you to do just that. Our future will be shaped by a dedicated few — no surprise there, it’s typical to how things get done here and elsewhere. It’s your decision as to whether you want to participate or sit on the sidelines. We hope you’ll do the right thing.